This powerful, sweeping novel continues the saga of Dshurukawaa, the Tuvan shepherd boy introduced in The Blue Sky. Torn between the onset of visions and pressure from his family to attend a state boarding school, the adolescent attempts to mediate the pull of spirituality and pragmatism, old ways and new. Taken from his ancestral home, he reunites with his siblings at a boarding school, where his brother also serves as principal. Soon he comes to understand that the main purpose of the school is to strip the Tuvans of their language and traditions, and to make them conform to party ideals. When tragedy strikes, Dshurukawaa begins to sense the larger import of his visions, and with it a possible escape. Tschinag's lyrical language, his striking characterizations, and his evocation of a singular way of life make The Gray Earth an unforgettable read and a worthy follow-up to The Blue Sky.
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What People are Saying About This
This is a landscape we might never have known—a line of snow-white yurts stretching across the steppes, the dark and frozen ground of the winter camps, the disappearing glaciers, the flocks and herds. The ground beneath this novel slips under your feet even as you read; a landscape threatened by global warming and other environmental degradations; a way of life disappearing faster than you can turn the pages—yak cheese, mutton and dried juniper. A language fighting for its life." —Los Angeles Times
"Milkweed Editions deserves applause for translating this important book into English. Indigenous cultures and languages have been attacked, denied and lost in boarding schools worldwide. It is an investment in our humanity to save and share stories such as this one that allow readers to understand the . . . strangeness of our so-called modern lives." —Minneapolis Star Tribune